If the LA Kings were to ever win the Stanley Cup, this would be the year to do it.
Analysts would probably tell you that although Chicago, Vancouver, San Jose or even Detroit are the toasts of the Western Conference, history proves that anything can happen in the regular season, and more importantly: the playoffs.
The hottest team in the Western Conference would have to be Los Angeles. They had a great regular season last year, and gave the Sedins and Vancouver all they could handle in the playoffs. They gave Canucks coach Alain Vigneault a lot of sleepless nights I'm sure.
Chicago won't be as powerful as they have been the last two years. They lost many key components/role players like Antti Niemi, Dustin Bfyuglien, Ben Eager and Kris Versteeg. Replaceable? Sure. But sports teams need a combo of star players and role players to compete for a championship, and Chicago lost a lot of their "mop up guys".
Vancouver is like the Utah Jazz of the NHL. They finish with an unbelievable regular season, and then when they hit the playoffs, they choke. The Sedins aren't tough enough. They lack the mental toughness and edginess to take that next step. They need some real bonecrushers on defense and to help Roberto Luongo.
Phoenix will be so concerned with the possibility of packing up and moving to Winnipeg that I think it will effect their psyche on the ice. They will make the playoffs but won't be as strong as last year. Plus Shane Doan isn't getting any younger.
The Red Wings will be back to healthy form this year, but you got to wonder how much hockey does Niklas Lidstom still have left. I would say the Wings win the Central Division for sure.
San Jose needs role players to get them to the Cup. They should have picked up Sergei Gonchar, but were probably hard pressed by cap limitations. They will be nose to nose with a pack of hungry Western Conference teams.
The new NHL is all about youth and speed, and the Kings have plenty of it. I predict 46 wins from LA this season, and possibly some playoff success. This would be a great chance for Los Angeles to steal away some of those Ducks fan and rebuild a fanbase that hungers for a champion.
Former Calgary Flames superstar Theo Fleury has accepted an opportunity to be a contestant on "Battle of the Blades" on CBC. With this, a failed NHL comeback, and a tell-all book in stores, something tells me Theo needs some cash.
NHL '11 on XBOX 360 is the most addicting thing since the invention of pizza. I literally can spend five hours playing this game without a rest. With multiple game modes, and terrific online gameplay, it's the only thing I would choose over a date with Jennifer Love Hewitt.
Ilya Kovalchuk stated he feels the New Jersey Devils were wronged by the NHL for being fined and having some draft picks taken away. Of course, when you just signed a big deal worth over $100 million, you will say anything, like that's a wonderful shade of orange on Elton John's head, or I do believe Hole was a better band than Nirvana. Crazy stuff like that.
The Canadian sports network TSN reported today that former NHL coach and overall good-guy Pat Burns had succumbed in his fight with lung cancer. But there is just one problem: Pat Burns is alive and kicking! Sensationalism runs amuck in today's media. It's all about how can they make the story interesting rather than telling the truth. In closing, check your facts before you post a story! Journalism 101 guys!
Any comments or questions? Feel free to e-mail me! Would love to get your feedback..